January 20, 2021

Peter Cook, Publisher

Another top restaurant brand enters into the ghost kitchen waters this week. Panera Bread announced that they will be testing ghost kitchens this year, possibly partnering with Kitchen United. Kitchen United’s CEO also dropped the news that they will be opening up at least 16 kitchen centers in 2021.

There are a handful of great pieces that were done this week, one of which describes how to personalize the virtual restaurant experience called “Virtually Delicious: Setting the Table for Digital-First Dining”.

The Ghost Kitchen Conference is building astounding momentum. With the rate at which ghost kitchens are changing the restaurant space, the conference poses opportunities for everyone. We can’t wait to meet you there.

Enjoy the rest of your week! And as always, we hope you enjoy your Ghost Kitchen Digest.

Issue #26

Kitchen United To Open 16 Centers This Year

Kitchen United expects to grow its total kitchen centers from four currently to 20 by the end of the year, representing 500% growth in total units, Michael Montagano, Kitchen United CEO, said during an ICR presentation on Wednesday.


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Panera Bread Is Testing Out Ghost Kitchens

Coming off a year of innovation during the pandemic, Panera Bread is looking to go all-in on convenience technology in the future, with ghost kitchens, mobile kitchens, virtual catering, and redesigned drive-thru lanes already in the works, Panera Bread CEO Niren Chaudhary told Nation’s Restaurant News.


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Why Is Nathan's Famous Big on Ghost Kitchens?

[Podcast] - The RB podcast “A Deeper Dive” features James Walker, senior vice president of restaurants, with the venerable hot dog brand.


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Noodles & Company, Fat Brands Plan Ghost Kitchen Openings in 2021

Noodles & Company plans to open a ghost kitchen operation during Q1 2021 in addition to new units that would be company-owned and just offering off-premise, Dave Boennighausen, CEO at Noodles & Company, said during an ICR presentation on Monday.


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Famous Dave’s Ghost Kitchen Set To Open Thursday

Famous Dave's set to open in The Fort, but plans to operate in a building with another restaurant.


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ShiftPixy To Launch Ghost Kitchen Incubator in Miami

A California-based tech company has targeted Miami as its new home — and also its first large-scale incubator project for ghost kitchens.


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Saladworks Continues To Grow and Innovate

Saladworks not only entered more traditional restaurant franchises, but it also expanded into non-traditional retail presences such as grocery, universities, ghost kitchens, combo kitchens and coming soon, Military bases.


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A New Ghost Kitchen Will Start Slinging Its Creative Cheesesteaks in Dallas

When Michael Youssef and Sam Kaiser found themselves furloughed from their jobs as hotel food and beverage managers, the duo decided to make the best out of a bad situation and start slinging sandwiches via a new ghost kitchen eatery they’re calling Furlough Brothers.


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Why This Commerce Company Is All In on Ghost Kitchens

Ghost kitchens, virtual kitchen and delivery-only restaurant models have seen unprecedented success in the past year. The unique confluence of both a rapidly expanding food delivery market as well as an unprecedented public health crisis have not only put ghost kitchens in the spotlight, but uniquely positioned them for success.


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As National Ghost Kitchen Companies Gain Prominence in Portland, Local Chefs Fight Back

With dining rooms shut down in Portland for the foreseeable future, many chefs feel forced to adapt to compete with companies like Reef or Cloud Kitchens.


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Wing Zone To Evolve Fast After Acquisition by Capriotti's

With the addition of Wing Zone, the fast-casual wing concept with 31 U.S. locations and 36 abroad, the combined company reported more than $100 million in system sales. Capriotti's Chief Development Officer David Bloom said the acquisition is the culmination of long and choosy process.


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‘Cloud Kitchen’ Brand Secures £1.4 Million Investment As Takeaway Market Grows

Kitchen Ventures will operate from “prime positioned” kitchens across London and secured investment from London Impact Ventures, enabling the brand to expand its network of kitchens across the city and to select international markets.


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Ghost Kitchens Put Virtual Restaurants on the Map During the Pandemic

Jacob Poznak is busy in the kitchen. But he’s not cooking up something off his Japanese gastropub menu. He’s heating up dumplings that were made in a restaurant in Flushing, Queens — some 13 miles away.


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How Covid Accelerated the Rise of Ghost Kitchens

The Covid pandemic has decimated the restaurant industry and has created huge demand for food deliveries.


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Virtually Delicious: Setting the Table for Digital-First Dining

Along the boulevard of online ordering, new locations are built with a handful of pixels, not a truckload of bricks. Welcome to the age of virtual restaurants.


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How 5 Emerging Restaurant Chains Adapted to the ‘New Normal’

Restaurants have found success with everything from bundled meal options to curbside carryout service to ghost kitchen-powered virtual concepts.


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The Strange, Underground World of Ghost Kitchens

MrBeast is not a traditional restaurant, in the sense that you can't actually go there. They also lack so much as a phone number. The burger spot instead has a shadowy and somewhat tenuous existence: findable only on delivery apps, and only if your address happens to fall within the delivery radius.


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Why Ghost Kitchens Are Great for Owners

While hiring as few employees as possible, these new-age restaurants have a low-cost – high-volume business model.


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How Ghost Kitchens and Business Innovations Are Aiding the Industry

In much the same way that a ghost tour can bring tourism dollars back to a destination that is suffering from a decrease in travelers, so, too, ghost kitchens can bring tourism dollars back to major cities suffering from the pandemic’s wrath upon the travel industry.


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TV Dinners and a Ghost Kitchen: How Lazy Dog Has Thrived Amid the Pandemic

Chris Simms CEO and founder of Lazy Dog restaurants said they created Jolene’s Wings & Beer to help the restaurants pivot during the coronavirus pandemic.


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A Virtual Eatery Will Focus on Plant-Based Mexican Dishes

Más Veggies Taqueria, a new concept from the Veggie Grill team, will offer a fully plant-based menu in partnership with Beyond Meat.


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Mission Taco Joint Launches Ghost Kitchen of Milagro Modern Mexican Favorites

Milagro Modern Mexican may have closed its doors in 2018, but fans of the innovative Webster Groves restaurant never fully let go. That became evident to chef Jason Tilford when he saw a recent social media post asking people to describe their favorite food experiences.


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